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10: Solutions and Colloids

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  • In this chapter, we will consider the nature of solutions, and examine factors that determine whether a solution will form and what properties it may have. In addition, we will discuss colloids—systems that resemble solutions but consist of dispersions of particles somewhat larger than ordinary molecules or ions.

    • 10.1: The Dissolution Process
      A solution forms when two or more substances combine physically to yield a mixture that is homogeneous at the molecular level. The solvent is the most concentrated component and determines the physical state of the solution. The solutes are the other components typically present at concentrations less than that of the solvent. Solutions may form endothermically or exothermically, depending upon the relative magnitudes of solute and solvent intermolecular attractive forces.
    • 10.2: Molarity
      Solutions are homogeneous mixtures. Many solutions contain one component, called the solvent, in which other components, called solutes, are dissolved. An aqueous solution is one for which the solvent is water. The concentration of a solution is a measure of the relative amount of solute in a given amount of solution. Concentrations may be measured using various units, with one very useful unit being molarity, defined as the number of moles of solute per liter of solution.
    • 10.3: Other Units for Solution Concentrations
      In addition to molarity, a number of other solution concentration units are used in various applications. Percentage concentrations based on the solution components’ masses, volumes, or both are useful for expressing relatively high concentrations, whereas lower concentrations are conveniently expressed using ppm or ppb units. These units are popular in environmental, medical, and other fields where mole-based units such as molarity are not as commonly used.
    • 10.4: Solubility
      The extent to which one substance will dissolve in another is determined by several factors, including the types and relative strengths of intermolecular attractive forces that may exist between the substances’ atoms, ions, or molecules. This tendency to dissolve is quantified as substance’s solubility, its maximum concentration in a solution at equilibrium under specified conditions. A saturated solution contains solute at a concentration equal to its solubility.
    • 10.5: Colligative Properties
      Properties of a solution that depend only on the concentration of solute particles are called colligative properties. They include changes in the vapor pressure, boiling point, and freezing point of the solvent in the solution. The magnitudes of these properties depend only on the total concentration of solute particles in solution, not on the type of particles. The total concentration of solute particles in a solution also determines its osmotic pressure.
    • 10.6: Colloids
      Colloids are mixtures in which one or more substances are dispersed as relatively large solid particles or liquid droplets throughout a solid, liquid, or gaseous medium. The particles of a colloid remain dispersed and do not settle due to gravity, and they are often electrically charged. Colloids are widespread in nature and are involved in many technological applications.

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